Antiviral coordination with pharmacies

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control established a partnership with the community and corporate sector to facilitate the rapid local dispersal of medical countermeasures in Public Health Region 8, which includes four counties along the Southern coastal tip of the state.

While setting up the region's antiviral pharmacy, a database was created including names, addresses, and phone numbers of every pharmacy in the region. Initially, the list was used to contact pharmacies in communities that were reporting shortages in antiviral medication. The nurse or Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteer would speak to pharmacists in the community to verify the shortage then deliver antiviral medications from the state's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to local providers that had previously signed a memorandum of agreement. An effort was then made to develop memorandums of agreement with other pharmacies in the community that were experiencing shortages. On the day the Region was notified of a state memorandum of agreement with Walgreens and Rite Aid, the same database was used to contact participating pharmacies and offer assistance with ordering medication. The Walgreens district office informed the antiviral pharmacy nurse that Region 8 was one of the first in the state to contact Walgreens and begin filling orders once memorandums of agreement were in place.

Currently, a list is maintained of all pharmacies and providers in the Region that have received a supply of Tamiflu and Relenza from the SNS. When individuals in the community or providers call the health department to inquire about where to get antiviral medication, they are referred to local pharmacies that have memorandums of agreement in place and have received the antiviral medication from the SNS. This public/private partnership to dispense antivirals in the community provides an opportunity to strengthen community and corporate partnerships and provides a working template for future dispensing of SNS medical countermeasures.

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